I got a funny call.
“Are you Lucy?”
“Ehm. No. I’m not Lucy. I’m Barry, and this is the Mindsci Clinic.”
“Do you know Lucy?”
“I’m sorry. I don’ t think I know any Lucy.”
“She does hypnotherapy in Richmond and Harley Street . I though she might work with you or you might know her.”
“I’m afraid not.”
“What shall I do?”
“I don’t know. Do you want to tell me why you're trying to find Lucy? That might be a start.”
“It’s my daughter. She has a problem with eating and we saw Paul McKenna on television and she said ‘he could hypnotise me and sort me out,’ and we were so desperate to help her we called but he’s too busy to see people so we were told to contact Lucy who he trained and she was in France and we made an appointment for this Friday and she said she’d send us details but nothing’s come and now it’s Wednesday and I’ve taken the day off work and I’ve lost her number so I don’t know where we’re supposed to be going so I phoned Directory Enquiries and they gave me your number.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t know Lucy. What’s the problem with your daughter’s eating?”
“Well she only eats chips, and rice with ketchup and pasta. Nothing else. And if there’s a tiny bit of, like, broccoli on the cutlery, she won’t even eat that. And she’s had a baby and she’s getting married in December and we don’t know what’s going to happen at the reception ‘cos you can’t just sit down to a plate of chips can you? She’s 18. Can you help her?”
“I expect so. Has she been hypnotised before?”
“And your appointment was for this Friday?”
“ Ten o’clock and I’ve taken the day off work.”
“I could see you at 2 in the afternoon, but I already have an 11.”
“Oh. I don’t think we’d get back in time. She works in the evenings.”
“Where are you?”
The mum was calling from a two hour journey away.
“OK. I’ll move my 11, and see you then.”
Which is what happened. The mum brought her daughter, Cathy. It took a while to get her subc to do IMRs but eventually we got a good communication going and the subc agreed to do sensible eating.
The following week the second appointment had to be postponed for 4 days due to closure of the M25. This time her step-father brought her.
Between sessions, nothing had changed and the old eating habits had remained firmly in place. She had managed to put some lettuce into her mouth but hadn’t been able to let go, and had gagged. Again it took a little while to engage her subc, before we could go back to before she was fussy about food. At 12 months she’d eaten a tub of Sudocrem, and it had made her ill. It wasn’t food. So stopping her eating food to keep her well was the mistaken strategy of an infant subc. In fact, of course, the strategy was damaging her health.
Once her subc accepted that food never had been the problem, she agreed to let Cathy try a bit of orange. I’d brought a tangerine into the consulting room in anticipation, and began to peel it. Unfortunately, it was one of those that refuses to give up its skin, and peeling it was a nightmare. Trying to separate the segments was worse. Eventually I got a sadly misshapen piece into her hand. She ate it, without fuss.
“How was that,” I asked.
“Delicious,” she beamed.
“When was the last time you ate a piece of orange?”
“Would you like another piece?”
“Yes, please.” She welled up, and burst into tears. And, very nearly, so did I.
I left her enjoying another piece of tangerine, and went to the kitchen for more supplies. “Would you like to try some tomato, now”.
“Yes, please.” She ate the tomato. “Wow. That tastes so strong. I thought it would be like ketchup, but it isn’t, is it?”
“Do you like it?”
“I think I need to get used to it. But, d’you know what? I can’t feel the pips. I always hated the idea of the pips and they just aren’t there.”
Next she had some slices of banana, which her blanded-out taste buds didn’t find so overpowering.
I put something into Cathy’s hand and asked if she knew what it was. She didn’t. I asked if she thought I would give her anything harmful, and she said I wouldn’t. I asked her to bite into it, then eat it. She bit it in half, chewed, moved it around her mouth, swallowed and said it was nice. She didn’t know what it was though. I told her it was a grape and asked her if she would like another. She said yes.
Can you imagine being 18 and not knowing grapes?
Later that day I got a call from her very happy mum. We still have some consolidation work to do, and Cathy has to discover what she really does and doesn’t like to eat.